Resources Travel Updates

Travel Advisories for Monterey County

Updates Regarding COVID-19

Monterey County is open and welcoming travelers to explore its awe-inspiring Central Coast destination safely and responsibly. We are proud to be one of California’s highest vaccinated counties and ask visitors to help us keep our community safe.

On June 15, 2021, the state of California moved beyond the California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow for businesses to return to normal operations with no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements, with limited exceptions for “mega” events (see Group Meetings & Events section below). The state and county are following CDC guidelines for face coverings (see Mask Guidance section below), and have recommended that face masks be worn indoors, including those who are fully vaccinated. Some businesses are still requiring face masks for all customers, so we advise visitors to carry a mask with them at all times. We advise visitors to check individual business websites for details on modified operations, safety and health protocols and to book reservations. Please follow all posted signage.

Monterey County hotels and lodging properties are following the highest industry standards provided by the California Hotel and Lodging Association Clean and Safe guidelines for added preventive measures during your stay. For additional health guidance and frequently asked questions when planning a trip to Monterey County, visit here.

The entire county is working diligently to ensure the health and wellbeing of its visitors, residents and employees.

Mask Guidance

As of July 19, 2021, Monterey County recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in public places. All Monterey County businesses are adhering to CDC guidelines for face coverings, including:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask outdoors in most cases unless a business requires their customers to. 
  • All individuals should wear masks when using public transportation and when indoors at places like restaurants, attractions, movie theaters and grocery stores.
  • Additional mask wearing exceptions and requirements by the state can be found here.

Please respect individual business requirements and inquire directly for information. Help us keep Monterey County beautiful by properly disposing of all trash including face coverings!

Group Meetings & Events 

As of August 18, 2021, under the Beyond the Blueprint, the California Department of Public Health has identified “Mega Events” as crowds greater than 1,000 attendees for indoor events and crowds greater than 10,000 attendees for outdoor events.  While proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results (within 72 hours) are recommended, self-attestation is acceptable thru September 19, 2021, with rights reserved to the venue and or event operator to impose tighter restrictions. Beginning September 20, 2021 the self-attestation allowance will end for indoor mega events and it will be mandatory for all attendees to provide proof of vaccination or negative test results. Proof of vaccination or negative test results will remain a recommendation for outdoor mega events and self-attestation will be allowed at the discretion of venue and or event operator.  This will remain in effect until November 1, 2021.

For more on meetings and events guidelines, visit California Hotel and Lodging Association (CHLA) Clean and Safe meetings and events guidelines.


Traffic Alerts

As of October 27, 2021

A stretch of Highway 1 is closed off in both directions in southern Monterey County from just north of the Ragged Point Inn due to a rockfall. Highway 1 remains open for travel from Carmel to Gorda. Big Sur parks, businesses and accommodations remain accessible to visitors. For more information, please visit the official Caltrans website.

Additional maintenance work in Big Sur on Highway 1 south of Limekiln State Park will be in effect Monday - Friday 7am to 7pm through the end of November (weather permitting). Directional signs will be in place to assist travelers, who can expect delays of ~10 to 15 minutes. Please allow extra time for your travel through the area. For more information, please visit the official Caltrans website.

Wildfire Alerts

Warm, dry summer and autumn conditions make for a beautiful experience in Monterey County, but also bring a higher risk for fires. Wildfires predominantly occur in remote, forested areas away from population centers. It is important to follow all laws regarding open fires, camp only in designated areas, dispose of cigarettes properly and put out all fires in designated areas. Travelers should also have an emergency plan and follow any evacuation orders.  



Park Closures

The U.S. Forest Service has temporarily closed all California National Forests for public and firefighter safety. The Los Padres National Forest closure is effective August 31 - September 17, 2021. 

The following parks remain closed due to 2020 wildfire damage in Monterey County:

  • Big Sur State Park Closures including: 
    • John Little State Natural Reserve
    • Limekiln State Park - access to the Park's campground and beach are open, but all trails remain closed

Please visit individual park websites for the latest updates, as well as to learn of possible trail closures throughout Monterey County. 

Travel Responsibly

As our destination welcomes visitors to enjoy our county, we ask that travelers visit responsibly and follow safety precautions, as outlined by health care officials. Please practice the following guidelines: 

  • Mask up as needed: face coverings are required for unvaccinated individuals and when individual businesses require them.
  • Stay home: if you show signs of illness, stay home. Follow CDC guidance for safe travel.
  • Leave no trace behind: properly dispose of all trash and plastics, including face coverings. Help us keep Monterey County beautiful for generations to come.
  • Camp responsibly: camp only at designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation, causing potential wildfires or camping on private property. Illegal camping is prohibited. 
  • Have a plan: have a back-up plan in case the area you're looking to visit is overcrowded, fully booked or parking areas are full. Explore lesser-known areas and try to avoid times popular areas are in high use. 
  • Respect the destination and others: Monterey County is home to an amazing diversity of indigenous plants and animals. Leave natural objects as you find them, keep your distance from wildlife and be respectful of others so that everyone can enjoy our scenic destination.